Autor: Silvana Doant

Dictaphone Group: Bus Cemetery

Thursday, 12 December 2013, Performance 10.30-17.30 @ Warehouse The lack of public transport in Lebanon and its ‘death’ in our city is seen as an extension to the lack of public spaces such as beaches, parks and pavements. This is why our project Bus Cemetery came about. Bus Cemetery is a sound-based intervention that was performed inside one of the derelict buses in the former train station in Mar Mkhael (Beirut), popularly known as the ‘bus cemetery’. The site is where the dysfunctional buses […]

Dictaphone Group: Why the Sea is Mine?

Friday, 13 December 2013, Lecture, 19.00-20.00 @ Zico House Why the Sea is Mine? is a lecture by Dictaphone Group in which we share some of the findings from our research as well as our artistic work process from three projects that took place in Lebanon: ‘Bit Téléférique’, ‘Bus Cemetery’ and ‘This Sea Is Mine’. Dictaphone […]

Laban – Live Lactic Culture (Masar Theatre)

Thursday, 12 December 2013, Improvisational theatre, 19.00 @ Orient Institut Beirut (OIB) Masar Theatre is a participatory, improvisation-based, socio-political theatre format invented by Laban. It was invented to meet the need of having a theatre-based tool for interventions in communities that are not known enough to intervening artists. In Masar Theatre, the audience share stories […]

Panel II: Between Public and Private

Friday, 13 December 2013, 15.00-18.30 @ Zico House Despite its historical contingency, the concept of a public space remains a powerful utopia that is strongly connected to the idea of a political space and to individual citizenship. As empty signifier a dichotomy of public and private continues to be the frame of reference for politicians, urban planners, and city dwellers. Every concrete meaning and manifestation of this dichotomy has an immediate impact on the lived, built, and imagined city, which is necessarily contentious and […]

Roman Stadnicki/ CEDEJ: The Emergence of Urban Activism in Cairo since the 2011 Revolution

Thursday, 12 December 2013, Panel I: Claims and Agency, 10.30-12.45 @ Warehouse Since the 2011 revolution we are witnessing a powerful growth of urban activism in Egypt, especially in Cairo. This paper will examine conditions for the emergence of this particular form of activism at the political, social and territorial levels. These conditions include the opening of the scope of activism, the diversification and ‘pluralisation’ of civil society, and the urban roots of the revolutionary moment. A typology will be established according to the […]

Omar Nagati/ CLUSTER: A Coup or a New Revolution? Competing narratives inscribed on Cairo’s urban landscape

Thursday, 12 December 2013, Panel I: Claims and Agency, 10.30-12.45 @ Warehouse Since January 2011, Cairo’s streets and squares have been the site of emerging initiatives and new modes of urban practices. Empowered citizens took advantage of the fluid political condition and a relative absence of enforcement agencies, challenging an already vulnerable state and increasing their claims to the city and public space.With the ousting of the elected president last summer and the gradual return of state institutions, Cairo has been witnessing a spiral […]

Hiba Bou Akar/ Hampshire College: Beirut’s Geographies of the ‘War Yet to Come’

This paper discusses how Beirut’s post civil war peripheries, previously conceived as poor and informal, have been transformed through contested planning exercises by religious political organizations into frontiers of violence and growth. The paper focuses on two contested southern peripheries of Beirut, Sahra Choueifat and Doha Aramoun, that provide possibilities for those who cannot afford living in the city, while being simultaneously spaces where the contours of the futures of violent engagements, militarization, and displacements are being drawn and redrawn every day. The paper […]

Maryam Amiri and Esmaeil Izadi / University of Tehran: Tehran Urban Space Under the Rationale of Sales Price

We explore the interrelations between law and space, focusing on urban space generated in Tehran under the Urban Density Sales Law. Endorsed by Tehran Municipality in 1990, the law overturned construction density restrictions put in place by ratified urban plans for the city of Tehran, thus making the market mechanism the only determinant in all future developments. The rationale of sales price took over the rationale of planning. The sudden change, apparent everywhere around the city and affecting the lives of its populace in […]

Nada Moumtaz / The Ohio State University: Practices of Commoning: Public utility and religious interest in the waqfs of contemporary Beirut

One key debate during the reconstruction of Beirut’s city centre after the civil war revolved around the ‘privatization’ of this process and the contradictions emerging from the expropriation of private lands, in the name of public utility, by a private real-estate company, Solidere. While the bulk of the critical commentary echoes common warnings about the consequences of the privatization of public space under neoliberal regimes for citizenship and the democratic process, this formulation leaves unexplored the possibilities of contestations around the notion of the […]

Nazanin Shahrokni/ Harvard University: A Gender-Divided City? An inquiry into the spatial politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran

This study examines the spatial dynamics of gender-segregated spaces and what these dynamics register about the transformations of state power in post-revolutionary Iran. In doing so, this work links everyday practices of traversing the city with macro-level dynamics of power and politics. It addresses the following questions: What can shifting gender segregation practices show us about the Iranian state and its shifting strategies of governing and maintaining legitimacy? How do local and global politics condition the production of gender-segregated spaces?I examine three illustrative cases […]

Mathew Gagné/ University of Toronto: Expanding Queer Spaces in Beirut: Mobile communications technologies and contestations to heteronormative space

Recent histories of neo-liberal governance and reconstruction in Beirut have created new types of public, commercial, and virtual spaces that have opened up to new forms of queer sexualities. Emergent forms of queer practices and socialities enabled through new Internet technologies render public spaces semi-private queer spaces, including commercial bars, restaurants, and clubs, as well as queered public areas. Appropriations and contestations of public spaces are expanding due to the growing popularity of mobile communications technologies. Smartphone applications, like Grindr and Scruff, disrupt the […]

Nahid Siamdoust/ University of Oxford: Tehran’s Soundscape and the Public Sphere

Tehran’s soundscape is a highly contested element of the public sphere that the Islamic Republic officially controls. I will show through a discussion of music how this space serves to mitigate any stark demarcations of the public or the private as people use various tactics to insert their presence into the official sphere via the city’s soundscapes. In this way, producers and consumers of music challenge officially imposed norms and values. The fragmentation of state authority through critiques of imposed gender roles, official corruption […]

Mazen Haidar/ ALBA and Akram Rayess / AMAR: Public Sounds, Private Spaces: Towards a Fairouz Museum in Zoukak el-Blat

The idea of dedicating a museum to Fairouz, the singer and leading figure of musical theatre in Lebanon, in her childhood home in Beirut has been circulating in the local media in recent years. The persistent media campaign came to fruition with the declaration that the endangered nineteenth-century mansion in Zokak el-Blat was a building of public interest. Taking an anthropological approach, this paper will focus upon Fairouz’s House as a contested urban space. It will highlight multiple and diverse readings and interpretations of Beirut’s architectural heritage in this contentious context. After illustrating the […]

Lucie Ryzova/ University of Oxford: Strolling in Enemy Territory: Contested spaces and spatial practices in Downtown Cairo, a historical analysis

Lucie Ryzova/ University of Oxford Strolling in Enemy Territory: Contested spaces and spatial practices in Downtown Cairo, a historical analysis Downtown Cairo means many things to many people. To some, its large avenues lined with neoclassical buildings stand as symbols of colonial domination; to others, they represent a bygone era of a cosmopolitan Paradise Lost, a Belle Époque that has long disappeared under the heavy hand of authoritarian nationalism and religious parochialism. To many brought up in a succession of new neighbourhoods, Downtownis a […]

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